Story & Photography by Angelia D. McGowan
My passport that I renewed in 2018 received its first stamp from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Customs and Immigration that same year. That means I finally used my high school French in Paris. The Parisians laughed when I spoke, but I’m sure it was with me. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. As an American, I helped them recall words in English. They helped me recall words in French.
No worries. I found places to practice.
As someone who writes auto reviews from time to time, I was happy to attend the Paris Motor Show at Porte de Versailles. During the event, that ran October 4-14, 2018, I saw first-hand some of the innovative ways the industry introduces design and technology advancements to a global audience.
Leading up to the show, there had been much talk about how the auto show circuit is going through changes, namely with manufacturers being more selective on where in the world they choose to have an auto show presence. In short, every manufacturer will not be at every auto show.
According to their press office, “By associating, within the Porte de Versailles, the Paris Motor Show, the Mondial de la Moto, the Mondial de la Mobilité, Mondial.Tech, Mondial Limited, the historic exhibition “Routes Mythiques” (Legendary Roads), by creating new event formats such as the conference Tomorrow in Motion” the model for the Mondial Paris Motor Show has presented a dynamic event with programming to meet the desires of almost any automobile or motorcycle enthusiast.
Ultimately, they introduced a new format in the world of automobile shows.
The 120th anniversary show launched Mondial Women to promote the role women play in the sectors of automobiles, motorcycles and mobility. The Mondial Tech Startups Awards competition recognized WeProov as the top startup among candidates from 53 countries in the world for its work in security, automatization and cybersecurity. To mark the launch of Mondial.Tech, the event welcomed the most important technological show in the world, the CES-Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. Many would certainly argue the line between technology and the auto industry has become almost nonexistent.
Add to that Google and Facebook events, and the Mondial Paris Motor Show reigned unique. There was a lot to see and learn.
At the conclusion of the biennial auto show, more than 1 million people reportedly attended the event over an 11-day period, setting it as the most visited auto show in the world, again, ahead of the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland at 660,000-plus and the IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) in Frankfurt, Germany at 810,000-plus. Auto enthusiasts around the world will have a chance to experience both of these top auto shows in 2019 (Geneva in March and Frankfurt in September).
Back to Paris
As a first-time visitor to Paris, I explored the city on a nighttime cruise on the Seine River, eventually walking to the Eiffel Tower for a true light show. While participating in a group literary walking tour hosted by DiscoverParis, I learned how black writers and musicians from around the world spent time at coffee shops and jazz clubs surrounding Luxembourg Gardens. Images of Richard Wright, James Baldwin and James Reese Europe came to life in my mind while listening to the tour guide talk about history as we passed Luxembourg Palace, also recognized as the home of the French Senate. During the tour, we also learned about Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty. That was just to start.
Multiple languages from around the world floated in the air around me at the auto show and in the city. In the big picture, my language faux pas were small. But, if I must exercise correction and practice more, I must return to Paris.